Mentorship Program

The Middle East Librarians’ Association recognizes the importance of mentoring in successful career development in Middle East Librarianship, and is offering a mentorship program. If interested in participating, please read the guidelines, and goals below, and complete the application form.


Any MELA member, new or continuing, is eligible to participate in the one-to-one Mentorship Program, either as a mentor or a mentee. Student members pursuing a library science degree are strongly encouraged to participate as mentee. The program is intended to assist mentee in acquiring the skills needed to begin or advance on a career path in Middle East studies librarianship with the help of a trusted and experienced individual acting as a friend, advisor, coach, guide, teacher or role model. Each pairing (mentor/mentee) will generally last for 12-18 months. It is the goal of the program that at the end of the formal mentorship the relationship will continue as colleagues. Anyone interested in participating in the Mentorship Program should contact the Mentorship Coordinator. The Mentorship Coordinator is selected on a rotating basis from the membership of the MELA Committee on Education by the Executive Board.


  • Ensure new librarians feel welcomed, and supported as they begin their careers
  • Provide students pursuing library science degrees with support, and guidance as they prepare for transition to professional work
  • Gain job seeking, and career development skills
  • Fulfill continuing professional development
  • Network with more experienced professionals
  • Foster collegiality by encouraging all librarians to participate in the mentoring program, and thereby share their knowledge and expertise
  • Encourage new librarians to stay in the profession.

Acceptance to serve as a mentor to another colleague is a serious responsibility not to be taken lightly. A modest commitment of dedicated time is required initially. The relationship between mentor and mentee ultimately is what both parties make it. Successful service as a personal mentor is a significant contribution to the profession.

There may be instances where a mentor relationship with a mentee is not felt to be proceeding in a satisfactory manner by either party. If a mentor or mentee doesn’t feel that their pairing is working well, he/she should contact the Mentorship Coordinator. In such instances either party may, at any time and without prejudice, request assignment of a new personal mentor/mentee.


What is a mentor?

A mentor is an experienced counselor and trusted advisor; it is someone who can provide guidance and support to a new librarian, a developing professional or a library science student. The mentor answers questions, advises, helps identify options, possible courses of actions, shares information on successful patterns others have followed, helps make connections with others who may be able to offer insights, and shows a mentee the many opportunities for involvement in MELA.


It is preferable for mentors (employed or retired) to have 10 years’ experience in the profession leadership experiences, coaching/teaching and interpersonal communication skills, genuine interest, and commitment to help, and access to professional networks. Mentoring involves being a good listener, a thoughtful advisor, and a role model. A mentor needs to have a sincere interest in helping others who are new to Middle East librarianship.


Mentors are expected to make initial contact with their mentees. If possible, mentors should arrange to meet face to face with their mentees at least once a year, during the MELA annual meeting. At this meeting, the mentor should expect to answer questions, give guidance, or just to listen. Discussions with your mentee should focus on their interests, how to become active members of MELA, and how to get the most from the sessions and workshops.

Benefits for mentors:

  • Contribute to the profession by helping to develop future leaders
  • Gain leadership, and communication skills
  • Grow, and learn from the experience.

What is a mentee?

A mentee is generally a new librarian (less than 5 years in the profession), a library science student, a new MELA member, or a first-time MELA annual meeting attendee.


A mentee is a MELA member who seeks guidance, and advice from professionally experienced colleagues.


A mentee will be contacted by the assigned mentor. The mentee is expected to communicate her/his own goals and/or information about what she/he hopes to achieve or gain. If possible, the mentee should arrange to meet face to face with the mentor at least once a year, during the annual meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for the mentee to ask questions, receive guidance, and get to know the mentor. Discussions with your mentor can revolve around your professional interests, how to get the most from the sessions and workshops, and how to become an active member of MELA. Don’t hesitate to ask to be introduced to other colleagues, and Executive Board members.

Benefits for mentees:

  • Receive support and guidance
  • Meet other professionals; network
  • Develop confidence
  • Involvement in a professional organization.


To be a mentor or a mentee, complete the MELA Mentorship Program Application Form.

Mentorship Coordinator:

For any questions, or suggestions, please contact the Mentorship Coordinator:
Anaïs Salamon
Head, McGill Islamic Studies Library
McGill University
3485, McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA H3A 0E1
Phone: (+1) 514-3398-4688 | Cell.: (+1) 514-449-1952